Is Little Havana Miami Safe? The Answer’s Not What You Think!

As wonder seekers, most of us are up for adventures and fun! However, neither of those should come at the cost of safety. For that reason, team Hopdes believes it’s essential to highlight the safety aspects of numerous places.

In the following guide, we will discuss the various aspects concerning the safety of Little Havana, Miami, FL including the safest places to go to, and the possible unsafe places that one should avoid. We have also discussed various important crime statistics!

Is Little Havana Safe?

YES, Little Havana is generally much safer now. Gang-related violence is still an issue but not as much. Things have changed since the new government arrived. Let’s go through both aspects step by step.

Little Havana, Miami, Florida - Calle Ocho Cigar Shop
Little Havana, Miami, Florida – Calle Ocho Cigar Shop

Why is Little Havana Miami Safe?

In 2019, the US average property crime rate was 179.7 while Little Havana had it at 399 which was a major concern. However, since then, there has been increased police patrolling and strictness in dealing with criminals to eradicate the problem.

Increased crackdown against drug dealers and recent death penalties were given to famous gang leaders named Ulysses Cabrera and Bernardo Quinonez.

Two Leaders and an Associate of Little Havana Drug Trafficking Organization Found Guilty
Two Leaders and an Associate of Little Havana Drug Trafficking Organization Found Guilty

The new mayor of Miami, Oliver Gilbert, and the police chief of Miami were both committed to fighting gang violence and instituted innovative new strategies to do so.

In April of last year, Miami-Dade County made significant attempts to clean up Miami Gardens communities, including the Allapattah neighborhood, which has seen its fair share of issues.

The Gwen Cherry Housing Complex gang war was investigated for two years until 14 individuals were arrested on various accusations, including drug trafficking, racketeering, robbery, handgun usage, murder, and more.

As a result, many of the problems are eliminated, but it goes without saying, perfection is never achieved.

Suggested Reading: Worst Time To Visit Miami According to Locals & Experts

Why is Little Havana Not Totally Safe?

Although, violent and property crimes have declined in recent years. The police presence, in the opinion of many locals, is insufficient. In recent times, Little Havana has lost further as 2023 data shows a 40% higher violent crime rate in the area as compared to the national average.

Little Havana, Miami, FL Crime Crime Rates Data

Statistic Little Havana/100k People Miami/100k People Florida/100k People National/100k People
Total crime 2,981 (estimate) 3,305 2,153 2,346
Murder n/a 12.8 5.9 6.5
Rape n/a 19.7 35.4 38.4
Robbery n/a 128.1 62.2 73.9
Assault n/a 394.9 280.1 279.7
Violent crime 543 (estimate) 556 384 388
Burglary n/a 305.2 240.6 314.2
Theft n/a 2,104.0 1,352.7 1,398.0
Vehicle theft n/a 340.7 176.1 246.0
Property crime 2,438 (estimate) 2,750 1,769 1,958

However, the personal crime rate index in Little Havana is 5.18 as compared to the national average of 1. The Property Crime rate index is 3.15 and the total crime rate index is 3.74 as compared to the national average of 1. These are some aspects that make Little Havana Miami unsafe.

This community’s risk or chance of experiencing a certain form of crime in the future is compared to the national average using the Crime Index. A score of 2.0 indicates twice the danger of the national average, while a score of 0.50 indicates half the risk. The average risk of each kind of crime in the country is set at 1.0.

According to more recent research conducted in 2023, there were 72 registered sex offenders living in the city. It surely is a cause for concern since the ratio of all residents to sex offenders in Havana is 26 to 1. In other areas like Tallahassee, the ratio is way higher at 242 to 1 making it a much safer place.

While generally, Little Havana has become quite safe for people and tourists, there are still concerns with regard to violent crime. There is a higher occurrence of violent crimes, such as assault and robbery, compared to the national average.

Unsafe Neighborhoods in Little Havana

There are certain neighborhoods we recommend you not to visit if you visit Little Havana as they are generally considered unsafe.

  • East Little Havana: This area, located near downtown Miami, has had a higher night crime rate in the past. However, efforts by local authorities and community organizations might have improved safety over time.
  • Southwest Little Havana: Some parts of this area have faced socioeconomic challenges, which might have influenced crime rates in the past. As the neighborhood evolves, crime patterns have improved. However, there are still concerns related to gang activity in this area.

Safe Places in Little Havana

Not every place in Little Havana is unsafe. The following are some of the best areas you can go to.

  • Calle Ocho (Southwest 8th Street): Calle Ocho is the heart of Little Havana and a popular tourist destination. This vibrant street is known for its cultural richness, with restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and live music venues. The bustling atmosphere and higher foot traffic can contribute to a sense of safety. In fact, when team Hopdes visited the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, we had a wonderful time! 
  • Maximo Gomez Park (Domino Park): This iconic park is a gathering spot for locals, especially for Domino players. During the day, the park is usually crowded with people enjoying games, conversations, and socializing. An active community presence can enhance feelings of safety.
  • The Roads: The Roads is a residential neighborhood in Little Havana with tree-lined streets and charming homes. The area has a more suburban feel and is considered relatively safe due to its peaceful environment and close-knit community.
  • Shenandoah: Shenandoah is another residential neighborhood within Little Havana known for its historic homes and family-friendly atmosphere. This area has seen improvements over the years and is generally considered safe.
  • Cuban Memorial Boulevard Park: This park is dedicated to the Cuban exile community and offers a peaceful and safe setting for visitors to learn about Cuban history and culture.
Mural Miami - Little Havana: Pitbull's La Esquina
Miami – Little Havana: Pitbull’s La Esquina

Tips to Stay Safe in Little Havana

We talked to people who live in Little Havana regarding how they manage their stay. Here is what we concluded from the discussion:

Little Havana aerial view
Little Havana aerial view

Avoid Risky Areas at Night: While Little Havana is generally safe, it’s still wise to avoid risky areas or streets during nighttime.

Learn Basic Spanish Phrases: Learning some basic Spanish phrases can be helpful for communication and navigating the neighborhood.

Use Trusted Transportation: Opt for reputable transportation services or rideshare companies rather than hitchhiking or using unlicensed cabs.

Know Emergency Contacts: Familiarize yourself with local emergency contacts, such as the police and nearby medical facilities.

Avoid Flashy Displays of Wealth: Avoid drawing attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive items.

Stay Updated on Current Events: Keep yourself informed about any safety advisories or recent incidents in the area.

Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or unsafe, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation.

Use Reputable Accommodations: Choose reputable hotels or accommodations with positive reviews and good security measures to ensure a safe stay.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption: If you choose to enjoy the nightlife in Little Havana, do so responsibly and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which can impair judgment and increase vulnerability.

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Conclusion

Stay safe in Little Havana, Miami, FL, by prioritizing awareness and caution. Embrace the neighborhood’s vibrant culture and charm while being mindful of your surroundings. By following these guidelines, you can relish the rich Cuban heritage and create lasting memories in a safer environment. Trust your instincts and make informed choices to fully enjoy the wonders of Little Havana without compromising safety.

Is Little Havana Safe? - FAQs

What are the main safety concerns in Little Havana?

While Little Havana has improved in safety, concerns about gang-related violence and occasional incidents of violent crimes persist. It’s essential to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions.

How is technology utilized to enhance safety in Little Havana?

Little Havana embraces technological advancements to improve safety. Surveillance cameras are installed in public areas, and mobile apps provide real-time safety alerts and emergency contact information.

Are there any safety apps or resources available for tourists visiting Little Havana?

Yes, some safety apps provide real-time safety information, emergency contacts, and location-based services to tourists in Little Havana. KATANA Safety is one such application that we recommend.

Are there any specific safety tips for solo travelers in Little Havana?

Solo travelers should exercise extra caution. Avoid walking alone late at night, inform someone trustworthy about your plans, and use reputable transportation services. Trust your instincts and avoid risky situations to ensure a safer journey.

Sara Anwar
Sara Anwar is hopdes' US director and a globetrotter. She joined the Hopdes team in July 2022. She has done more than 300,000 miles back and forth. She's been to more than 80% of the world, and her passion for understanding different cultures has only grown stronger with time. A traveler at heart, she loves to experience new cultures and learn new languages. Sara's wealth of travel experience makes her the perfect person to oversee a travel website – after all, who knows better what travelers want and need than she does?
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